After Hans Holbein became the court painter, his main task was the portraits for the kings. He had painted many portraits of kings. In the 5 years, except for this Portrait of Henry Viii King of England, there were Portrait of Queen Zhan Samuel (made in 1536, in Vienna), Portrait of Denmark Christina (made in 1538, preserved in London), and Portrait of Welsh Prince Edward (in 1539, preserved in New York) etc. Portrait of Henry Viii King of England was his last representative work.
The King Henry VIII was a tyrannical monarch in history and the most sensational event in his life was his multiple marriages. And every time, he found an excuse to kill his ex-wife before his wedding. Such a scandal had been heard in the interior court. As the court painter employed by this tyrant, Holbein used the realistic techniques in this portrait painting. He truly depicted the violence and brutality of this historical figure. The king was tall with flat face. As he ate all day, his body seemed to be very puffy. His facial muscles were relaxed, and the forehead still revealed the sinister qualities: deceit, jealousy and sadistic. All of these were portrayed penetratingly by the painter.
Holbein portrayed the gorgeous clothing in the king very carefully and almost reproduced every ornament, each kind of embroidery and exquisite color of each hanging bead. Even so, the emperor’s elegance still cannot conceal the portrait’s disclosure. All the expensive decorations in this figure meant the hard-earned crystallization of millions of people in Britain. Holbein died of plague epidemic in 1543. It was the foggy autumn of London and the artist was only 46 years old. This best and last portrait was a good characterization of his court art tendency. It’s said that this painting was only the copied one, and the original had been lost.